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'The Bachelor' recap: Courtney plays with tarantula, weaves a web

February 14, 2012 |  8:27 am

Courtney, not Kacie B., appears to have the inside track when it came to winning Ben's affection on Monday's episode of "The Bachelor"
How fitting that Monday's episode of "The Bachelor" should end with Courtney petting a tarantula. She clearly shares a lot in common with spiders, because she's woven quite an elaborate web to ensnare Ben.

Though the conniving model may not appear to be all that book smart, I've got to hand it to her: Girl got game. Unlike the other women who act like Ben is the second coming of Christ, Courtney withholds her feelings, making "The Bach" come to her. At one point this week, she tried to console the other women by telling them that Ben isn’t the only guy in the world.

"Did she just say Ben isn't the only guy in the world?" Emily said in disbelief, which is sad on about 3 million levels.

FULL COVERAGE: 'The Bachelor'

The thing is, deep down, Courtney is obviously just as insecure as the other women, despite being genetically perfect. Before finding out that she'd landed one of the week's coveted one-on-one dates, Courtney threatened to leave the show if she wasn't selected for some solo time with Ben. She was in bed, writing in her journal -- God, how I would pay to read those insightful pages -- and crying. It was nice to see a momentary flicker of emotion from her, and for a moment, I almost bought into the fact that she is falling for Ben.

But sadly, that doesn't seem to be the case. Courtney just seems like one of those girls who has never had to fight for a guy's affection, and now she can't deal with the fact that she's not the center of attention.

Accordingly, at the beginning of her date with Ben in Belize, she told him she felt the spark between them had fizzled and that she was contemplating not bringing him home to meet her parents.

Notice how she put the ball in his court? This worked fantastically, as Ben admitted that his "heart drops" upon hearing Courtney's confession, and said he would be "crushed" and "devastated" if her feelings for him weren't reciprocal. 

After Monday's episode, I have a difficult time seeing how anyone but Courtney will be Ben's final pick. This week, he blatantly said he had stronger feelings for the model, and that his connection with her was deeper than it was with the other women. 

But the real tell-tale sign of Courtney's lead came when Ben said he has begun to realize he wants to be with "a woman that has a little bit of edge" -- also known as a chick who isn't a lapdog. Which Courtney most certainly is not. When Ben asked her why she didn't get along with the other women -- and if that was indicative of a larger inability to connect with girlfriends -- Courtney got defensive. Instead of challenging her, Ben immediately backed off, admitting that he didn't want to seem like he was "attacking" her.

Ugh, dude is such a goner. And that's the sad thing. When I start to like Ben, believing that he has more character and brains than some of the Ken doll "Bachelors" of the past, I remember: This dude likes Courtney. A woman who repeatedly says things like "winning" and "oh, snap!" and -- yes -- "kill shot" while shooting fake guns, imagining she's killing off the other women.

Which she did this week, in some respects. After a seemingly normal date, Emily -- arguably the brightest woman on the show this season -- got the boot. And the poor girl went to some extreme lengths to prove she was the kind of down-to-earth, adventurous partner Ben claims to be looking for. She went lobster hunting in the ocean, for God's sake. And those things did not look friendly. I would venture to say that I would have rather gone on the shark-diving date than the lobster-hunting date. 

That's not a sentiment that Rachel, the other woman who was sent packing this week, would agree with. Despite the fact that she conquered her fear of swimming with the kind of shark that I don't think has actual teeth, Ben wasn't feeling her. 

That leaves Nicki, Lindzi, and Kacie B. -- all three sweet women who I think would be decent picks for Ben. I'm not totally impressed by Lindzi. She's nice enough, but she didn't have much to say on her date with Ben, even when they did that whole cute message-in-a-bottle stunt. That she spells her name with a "z" and can't apply make-up properly doesn't help. 

I like Nicki, and I think she has a little hidden spunk to her -- it was pretty endearing when she said she'd tell "these palm trees, these seashells, this [expletive] ocean!" that she was falling in love with Ben. But I'm not sure she has enough fight in her to make it to the end. 

And then there's Kacie, who is my favorite at this point. But because she's pretty and normal and nice and not a game-player, I'm guessing she doesn't stand a chance. 

But enough predicting for now: Hometowns next week! Are you dying? Bring on the kooky parents, overbearing parents, and especially the drunk parents!


Complete "Bachelor" coverage on Show Tracker

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"The Bachelor" recap: After skinny-dip, Ben's under Courtney's spell

-- Amy Kaufman

Photo: Ben and Kacie B. on their date during Monday night's episode of "The Bachelor." Credit: ABC